Leafs vs. Bolts: Leafs lack a sniper like Vinny
Another toughie for the Leafs, another night when they win on the shot clock but can't score enough to make it mean more than that.
This is the way it's going to be all season, so get used to it.
The Lightning scratched and clawed to protect a 3-2 lead and make it stand up, while Ron Wilson tried every forward combination in the book in an attempt to at least get to overtime.
It was a rather disjointed game that included, oddly, four penalties for delay-of-game, an apt demonstration of why both of these clubs are likely to be on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin next spring.
Hats off to Tampa goalie Mike Smith, the major acquisition for the Lightning in the Brad Richards deal with Dallas last winter. Smith has been nothing short of dazzling this season, vindicating new GM Brian Lawton's decision to sign him to a new contract before this season.
The difference in this game? The hands of Vinny Lecavalier, a player the likes of which the Leafs just don't own right now, and won't get without finishing low in the standings and high in next summer's draft.
It won't get any easier for the Leafs to score some goals Wednesday night against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.
Benching and juggled lines can only do so much. Getting much more offence out of this Leaf roster is akin to getting blood from a stone.